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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE DUTCH COLLECTOR
Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002)
Though Hermanus Berserik was a great traveller throughout his entire life, he sought his subjects close to home. Typical examples of his selected themes were dolls, bicycles, ports, landscapes, self-portraits, and townscapes. In many of his works, Berserik plays with reality. These paintings are infused with an atmosphere of child-dreams, in which the utensils have an ominous connotation. Broken toys, for example, are symbols of transitoriness. Berserik portrayed himself frequently as a young child. He saw these self-portraits as a form of self-exploration.
Throughout his entire life Berserik participated actively in the art society of The Hague, the Pulchri studio, the Vereniging Vrij Beelden, Verve, and in the group De Realisten, from Amsterdam. Especially his Verve-period was a time of new impressions for Berserik. Al trough Verve's existance( 1951-1957), Berserik was attached to this group of artists. Characteristic of these artists was de modern figurative art, the kitschy worn-out objects, as for instance old toys and other devices.
The Hague was a great source of inspiration for the artist. There he painted, among other things, townscapes inspired by the 19th century streets of the surroundings of the Hollands Spoor. Since the artist owned a boat and regularly sailed from his house at the Kanaalstraat to the Zuiderzee, ports and riversides filled out his works. At that time, Berserik had a lack of resources and he had to supplement his income working as illustrator of pocket covers and setting and costume designs. Many of these decor designs were inspired by cardboard theatre toys, and his costumes were inspired by playing cards of past centuries.